Tuna Casserole a la Rex

This is one of our families favorites and Happy 50th to Charlie the Tuna!


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 cup penne
1 large (9 oz) can of chunk tuna in water or brine
1 small (5 oz) can of chunk tuna in water or brine
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup celery (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons of flour
6-8 oz sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
1-2 teaspoons dijon mustard
Breadcrumbs for that toasty top
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to the boil and parcook the penne for five minutes. Drain, rinse to cool, coat in a squirt of olive oil and set aside. Melt the butter in olive oil and saute onions until soft and transluscent. Add the flour. Cook until the flour taste is gone (slightly tan), add the milk and cook until it starts to thicken (yes, it’s just like what we did for the Low Fat Macaroni and Cheese* but without the cream and buttermilk). Add half (Note: HALF!) the grated cheddar in stages to create a thick soupy like paste.

Add the mustard and tuna (drain it, first!). Mix together. You’ll want to taste it at this stage before seasoning – if you used tuna in brine then it will already be salty and won’t need as much salt. At any rate, season it, according to taste, with salt and pepper.

Now toss in the celery and corn. Mix it all together (you need a fairly large pot for this – I should have mentioned that earlier). Add the parcooked penne and mix together. Put in an oven proof baking dish and top with the other half of the grated cheese and breadcrumbs (just like the Mac and Cheese). Bake in a 375 degree oven covered for 25 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes to consume (or allow to rest for 1 to 2 hours to shellac and photograph).

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*Nowhere near to Low Fat